The Supreme Court Monday granted to the CBI time till September 6 to complete the investigation into the road accident in which the Unnao rape survivor and her lawyer were critically injured and two of her aunts killed.
The apex court, which had earlier given two weeks to the CBI to complete the probe, extended the time while noting that the probe agency has done “extensive investigation” in the case so far.
“We have perused the report of the CBI. This court, vide order dated August 1, 2019, granted an outer limit of two weeks to complete the investigation. On perusal of the report, we find that the CBI has done extensive investigation but some loose ends need to be tied up,” a bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said.
“Some of the investigation relates to collating and analyzing the material already collected, especially the electronic records. Most importantly the statements of the victim and her counsel who was driving the car could not be recorded till date, as they are both not in a position to make a statement,” the bench noted in its order.
While seeking four more weeks to complete the probe, CBI told the top court that statements of rape survivor and her lawyer have not been recorded yet and it wants to analyse certain electronic evidence collected so far during the probe.
The court also directed the Uttar Pradesh government to pay Rs 5 lakh to the lawyer who is in a critical condition and undergoing treatment.
The bench however took exception to some public statements made by the family members of the rape survivor in the media and said it might help the accused during the trial of the case.
“If you have any grievances, feel free to tell us. We are here to help you. Some members of her family are going to the media. It may rather help the accused,” the bench observed.
At the outset, senior advocate V Giri, assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the matter, told the bench that the lawyer injured in the road accident is still in a critical condition and he has been shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, for further treatment.
“A lot of money is required for his (lawyer) treatment and attendance. Though treatment has been provided to him free at AIIMS, there are expenditure which needs to be made. We, therefore, direct the state of UP to pay a sum of Rupees five lakhs to the wife of the victim’s counsel within three days from today,” the bench said, adding that “the amount be adjusted against the compensation finally adjudicated”.
During the hearing, the bench asked, “Who is appearing for the CBI? You (CBI) have asked for extension of time (to complete the probe) in the ground that statements of the victim and her lawyer have not been recorded yet”.
Advocate Rajat Nair, appearing for CBI, said that the agency has filed an application in this regard.
The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on September 6.
On August 1, the apex court had directed Uttar Pradesh government to provide Rs 25 lakh to the rape survivor as an interim compensation.
The top court had on August 2 directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete the investigation in the case within seven days, adding that the agency could avail additional seven days in exceptional circumstances, but in no case the time frame would be extended beyond a fortnight.
It had earlier ordered transfer of all the five related cases in the matter to Delhi but later modified its order putting in abeyance shifting of the accident case till the probe was completed.
The modification was done stating that due to shifting of the case, the local court was facing technical hurdle in passing orders of remand for the accused who are being arrested in course of the probe.
The court had said the order transferring the accident case “shall remain in abeyance for the period during which the said case remains under investigation, which we have stipulated in the order dated August 1, 2019, to be completed in a maximum period of 15 days, preferably within seven days. The order dated August 1, 2019, is modified accordingly”.
The woman, allegedly raped by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor, is battling for life after a truck rammed into the car she was travelling in with some family members and her lawyer. Two of her aunts died in the road accident.
She was airlifted from a hospital in Lucknow and brought to the AIIMS for better care as she continued to be critical.